San Bernardino Adoption Attorney
The legal effect of an adoption is that the adoptee becomes the legal child of the adopting parent or parents. In all types of adoptions, a judge must grant the adoption. The judge will not grant the Petition for Adoption unless it is in the child’s best interest. The judge cannot consider the benefit to the adopting parents. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that adopting parents present a strong case of the benefits for the child. The San Bernardino adoption attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP are time-tested in providing passionate and effective representation for prospective parents going through the adoption process.
The typical adoption today is an independent adoption, where the mother has input into who the parents of her child are to be. In an independent adoption a social worker called an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) serves as an impartial third party. The ASP ensures that the birth mother is making an informed decision. California law requires that the birth mother be offered at least three 50-minute counseling sessions for which the adopting parents pay. When the ASP is satisfied, an Independent Adoption Placement Agreement is executed by the birth mother and by the adopting parents, and then is filed with the state. After that happens, a Petition for Adoption can be filed.
California law forbids adopting parents from making a monetary disbursement to the birth parents for the child. However, adopting parents may pay bills incurred by the birth mother by reason of the pregnancy, including medical bills. Each payable expense is limited to:
- An amount that is reasonable
- An amount that is necessary
- Associated to the pregnancy
- For the duration of the birth mother’s confinement
- Paid unconditionally
- Considered a charitable act
Rights of Birth Fathers
Rights of birth fathers under California law are differentiated between presumed fathers and alleged fathers. The categorization of the father is crucial in that a presumed father has the same parental rights as the birth mother. Most commonly, a presumed father will have been married to the birth mother within 300 days prior to the birth of the child, has agreed to be named as the father on the child’s birth certificate and/or receives the child into his home and publicly holds the child out as his. A presumed father’s consent to the adoption of the child is required. An alleged father’s consent is not required, but he is entitled to notice. For an alleged father to block the adoption he must prove that it is in the best interests of the child to be with him, which is difficult to do.
Birth Mother’s Change of Heart
Many prospective adoptive parents are concerned about the birth mother having a change of heart and canceling the adoption. Once the birth mother and the adopting parents have executed the Adoption Placement Agreement, which contains a Consent to Adoption, the birth mother’s consent is freely revocable for 30 days. However, a birth mother can sign a separate form waiving the 30-day revocation period. If the birth mother has independent legal counsel, which the adopting parents can pay for, then ASP can validly witness the birth mother’s waiver. A Riverside adoption lawyer at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP can adeptly navigate the sometimes-troubled waters of an adoption proceeding. Contact us today for your confidential and free initial consultation.